Meet The Artist: Ciara O’Neill

Ciara O’Neill is an indie folk singer songwriter from Portadown, now living in Belfast. The 35 year old performer started in the music industry at a very young age singing in her school choir.

After being classically trained she sang in a folk band at university. Shortly after Ciara began singing and collaborating with other bands and artists over a number of years. 

In 2011 the artist began playing guitar and writing songs which eventually led to the release of her debut album The Ebony Trail. Ciara’s second album Arrow was released in 2018.

What would you consider your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievements so far have been self releasing two albums, performing to a US TV audience of 60 million for Music City Roots and performing at the prestigious Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN.

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?

The biggest lesson I have learnt is to always trust and rely on myself and not to put my dreams or ambitions in the hands of other people. Being in control of every aspect of my music career from the production to the artwork has always been really important to me.

What has been your biggest challenge to date? 

My biggest challenge to date has been balancing my music alongside my busy career in healthcare especially during these Covid days.

Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc? 

I have a pretty demanding career in healthcare and as well as singing, playing guitar and writing songs i’m an avid bookworm and adore the books of Isabelle Allende and Haruki Murakami. I also love to travel and have been steadily building up my passport stamps over the last 10 years. My favourite destinations so far have been Norway and Japan. 

Tell us about your most recent work? 

My most recent album is ‘Arrow’ which I released in 2018 to great reviews and radio play. Coming up next for me is a french inspired EP featuring my new song ‘La Lune’.

What would you like us to tell people about? 

To keep an eye out on my social media over the next while as there’ll be info on a new EP and single release.

I’m also performing as part of the A Taste of Belfast and Brussels event organised by Culture Night Belfast and The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels for the Out To Lunch Festival on Tuesday 19th January – tickets here.

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say? 

Pretty indie folk with thoughtful lyrics. 

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business? 

There has been a lot of funny experiences but the one that stands out was years ago in Dublin my band at the time (a quirky indie pop band) supported a male, tattooed, punk rock band. They came on stage in tutu’s, set their chest hair on fire, then set off the fire alarms. 

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry? 

My advice would be to learn how to say no. Don’t feel you have to say yes to everything especially if you feel an opportunity doesn’t fit right with you or your music. It’s very easy when starting out to be a ‘yes (wo)man’ but a confident no can also be really empowering. 

Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work? 

To check out some collaborations I’ve done recently particularly with the brilliant Matt McGinn on his song ‘Bubblegum’ based on the diary of a young girl growing up during the troubles in Northern Ireland. 

 

Who do you look up to and why? 

Glen Hansard for his live performances, Lisa Hannigan for her voice, Fleetwood Mac for their songs, Maya Angelou for her words, Isabelle Allende for her work ethic (she starts a new book every year on the 7th January) and my parents for being brilliant and always supportive.

You can stay up to date with Ciara below:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

Website

Ciara O’Neill will be one of the artists performing at this year’s A Taste of Belfast and Brussels at the Out To Lunch festival as part of the Culture Night Belfast and Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels showcase.

A Taste of Belfast and Brussels will also feature musician Ursula Burns and Anthony Toner and poet Stephen Connolly.

Pre-recorded at Rosemary Street Church before Christmas, the event will be broadcast at 1pm on Tuesday, January 19 2021.

To book your free ticket go to >> https://cqaf.com/a-taste-of-belfast-and-brussels 

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